The Beauty of the Christian Personality
“Put on the new personality which was created according to God’s will in true righteousness and loyalty.”—EPHESIANS 4:24.
1. What beauty do we here desire to describe?
THERE is a saying that ‘beauty is in the eyes of the beholder,’ meaning that beauty is relative. What is the beauty of a Christian man or a Christian woman? That is what we want to discuss now.
Defining Beauty in the Christian Man
2. Why do physical attributes alone fail to make a man of God?
2 Let us begin by considering the qualities that give a Christian man the pleasant appearance that will cause others to be pleased to be in his company. Physical qualities alone do not make a “man of God.” (1 Timothy 6:11) A man’s outward appearance, becoming as it may be, means little if he is empty-headed in his reasoning. If he is proud, rude, uncouth, and ignorant, he does not attract—he repels. If his manners show him to be unappreciative, he certainly can be a cause for stumbling to others. If he is only concerned with himself and how he looks or impresses others, he will not be the kind of person with whom others want to associate.
3, 4. (a) What are some of the qualities of a man of God as exemplified by the man Jesus Christ? (b) How would you explain some of the characteristics of a man of God?
3 Rather, a man of God will have cultivated the qualities of justice, mercy, love, and kindness. Jesus Christ was not known for his perfect body but for his loyalty to principle and to truth. His way of teaching identified him as one who spoke with authority from God. (Matthew 7:28, 29; John 7:46) A man of God will not be corrupted by the desire for power or prominence. The advantages of a certain position cannot buy him. He is a man who possesses willpower. He loves humility and will not lie. He displays a wholesome fear of Jehovah. (Proverbs 22:4) These are some of the qualities that are to be found in a man of God.
4 A man of God has conscience, a good heart, and proper motive. (1 Timothy 1:5; Proverbs 4:23) He will not do things that violate his conscience, ignoring righteous principles. Having a good heart and proper motive, he will not use devious methods in his dealings with others. (Hebrews 13:18) He will not allow his good motives to be undermined by unclean conduct and actions. (Hosea 4:11) He consistently disciplines himself to keep his heart from becoming treacherous. In word and in deed he stands out as a man of principle.—Psalm 15:1, 2.
5. What role does compassion play in the life of a man of God?
5 A man of God has compassion for others, is forgiving and kind. A compassionate man is a sympathetic man. He can show empathy and understanding when others have problems that are difficult to deal with and that bring anxiety. More than that, he can be forgiving when someone does him wrong. He can rise above the instinctive desire to repay injury for injury and reviling for reviling. Truly he fits the words of 1 Peter 3:8, 9. By bestowing a blessing rather than a cursing, he shows himself to be kind and in control of those baser desires that mark the petty man, the man without ability to be compassionate, forgiving, and kind to others.—Ephesians 4:31, 32.
6. (a) What other outstanding qualities of a man of God are there, and what do they mean? (b) What view will such a man’s wife and children have of him?
6 Another outstanding quality marking a man of God is his generosity. And if married, he is a true husband and an honest father. In his capacity as a married person, the man of God has a tremendous opportunity to be an influence and pattern for good both for his wife and for his children. (Colossians 3:19, 21) In the matter of being generous, such a man follows the fine advice of the Lord Jesus Christ, who said: “Practice giving, and people will give to you. They will pour into your laps a fine measure, pressed down, shaken together and overflowing. For with the measure that you are measuring out, they will measure out to you in return.” (Luke 6:38) In his family relationships, such a man will indeed care for those of his household. But he will also follow the fine admonition of Ephesians 4:28, to do “what is good work, that he may have something to distribute to someone in need.” As a true husband, the man of God will keep fidelity in the marriage arrangement. His wife will be able to have complete trust and confidence in him as a man that truly is one with her in the marriage bond. (Proverbs 5:18, 19) Additionally, if there are children, he will show himself to be an honest father, not a cheater or dishonest in his dealings with others. Thus, he will inculcate the principles of honesty in his children. (Proverbs 4:1-5) What a fine example such a man is to the impressionable mind of his children! They will be able to look to him as a loyal man, an integrity keeper.—Proverbs 11:3, 4.
7. What balanced view of indebtedness will be taken by the man of God?
7 In this respect also, the man of God will watch that he and his family do not accumulate burdensome debts, knowing that these can lead to trying problems. This, of course, means he will not allow himself and his family to live beyond their means. He is a person who will count the cost before embarking on a particular course. (Luke 14:28-30) He can deny himself in the present time for the sake of the future and is able to give up the seen for the unseen, as it were. (Compare Hebrews 11:8-10.) Living in this way will help the man of God to maintain his Christian scruples in his everyday living.
8. How will such a man face unpleasant circumstances in his life?
8 In the lives of all mankind, due to sin and imperfection, it is necessary to face up to unpleasant circumstances at times. But the man of God will be courageous and principled in such situations, after the pattern set by Jesus. (John 16:33) In the strength of his God, Jehovah, he will face the difficult problems with courage, relying on Jehovah for help and guidance.—Proverbs 18:10.
9. How would you describe the moral life of a man seeking to please Jehovah?
9 A true man of God is the master of his body. That is, he keeps his desires and passions under control, aware that his body is a proper servant but a very bad master. He remembers constantly the inspired words of the apostle Paul: “I pummel my body and lead it as a slave.” (1 Corinthians 9:27) Therefore, he seeks always to cultivate that fruit “of the spirit . . . self-control,” avoiding those things that would corrupt him. (Galatians 5:22, 23) He is wise in knowing that giving in to immoral thinking can lead to immoral action. Again, his reliance is on his God, Jehovah, and the strength He supplies.—Philippians 4:13.
10, 11. (a) What redeeming quality is exhibited by a man of God when he makes errors in judgment? (b) What pattern will family heads follow with regard to family study?
10 And finally, the man of God can admit his mistakes, say he is sorry, express such sorrow to his marriage mate and to others he may offend or hurt in one way or another due to his imperfections. He can go to Jehovah and with a clean heart ask to be forgiven of his sins because he has asked his wife, his fellowman, his children, to forgive him. The ability to say, “I’m sorry, I was wrong” is indeed the mark of a real man, especially of a man of God.—Matthew 18:21, 22; Mark 11:25.
11 Would you not say that a man, a husband, a father, of that caliber would have the help of Jehovah? (Psalm 54:4) Indeed, he would be equipped to cope with the problems that this modern world brings on all of us due to Satan’s designs and purpose to wreck everything good, including marriage and the happy family unit. He would look after the spirituality of family members, leading them in regular study of God’s Word and in prayer, after the pattern of faithful servants of God in Bible times.—Deuteronomy 11:18-21; Proverbs 7:1-3.
12. What important role will we next consider?
12 But there is more to consider. There is also the role of the wife in coping with problems in the family. Let us now give our attention to those qualities she will want to cultivate in her life.—Proverbs 19:14.
Defining Beauty in the Christian Woman
13, 14. What steps can a woman take to win the approval of Jehovah and, if she is married, of her family, and what was the apostle Peter’s counsel at 1 Peter 3:1-5 to womankind?
13 The book of Proverbs tells us something about a woman of God: “Charm may be false, and prettiness may be vain; but the woman that fears Jehovah is the one that procures praise for herself.” (Proverbs 31:30) How, then, does a woman acquire those qualities that endear her to her husband and children, or to others if she is single, and make her a person that others enjoy being near? To begin with, a woman of God is an openhearted person, meaning that she is generous, desirous of helping others in whatever ways she is able, materially or spiritually. When there are those in need, she is among the first to want to help, taking a genuine interest in the needs of others. But, of course, she balances such interest with the care and attention she, if married, must give to her own family.—Titus 2:3-5.
14 Further, such a woman is humble-minded, not haughty; kind, not surly; tidy, not unkempt; sympathetic, not belligerent. And, if married, she strives to follow the counsel that the apostle gives at 1 Peter 3:1-5.
15. (a) What goal should a woman of God have, and how may she attain it? (b) How is she supportive of her husband? (c) Why does she continue to be loved in the family circle?
15 Additionally, a woman of God is not worldly-wise, but she strives to cultivate spirituality. She is an earnest reader of the Bible and is interested in applying its principles in her life. (Psalm 119:66) This is not done in self-interest, only wanting knowledge for herself, but, rather, she has in mind sharing the good things she learns, both in the Christian ministry and in day-to-day contacts with neighbors, relatives, and friends. A Christian husband enjoys a wife with whom he can converse on spiritual matters, as his complement, someone who also appreciates spiritual things and wants to share with him in coming to know Jehovah better. (Proverbs 9:9, 10) So a woman of God is discerning and understanding. If married, she is aware of her role as her husband’s complement. She is supportive of her husband in giving spiritual instruction to the children, especially when he is absent from the home. (Compare 2 Timothy 1:2, 5; 2 John 1, 2.) She will continue to be loving and loved in the family circle long after the beauty of youth may have faded. Her husband can count on her for good and just observations, sound opinions, and sincere encouragement, because she is amiable and sensible. (Proverbs 25:11) It was when Abigail acted with discernment and promptitude that David said: “Blessed be your sensibleness.”—1 Samuel 25:32, 33.
16. What kind of words and actions identify a woman of God?
16 The modest influence for good that a wife exercises in support of her husband will not be that of sharp, bitter, or sarcastic words. Favor is won by gracious looks, fitly spoken words, tender acts of love, industriousness, by gentle kindness and deep understanding. (Compare Proverbs 25:11; 31:10-28; 1 Thessalonians 2:7.) Meekness, faith, modesty, these are the things that win lasting dearness for the woman of God.—Psalm 37:11; Hebrews 11:11, 31, 35; Proverbs 11:2.
17. Of what value is the quality of love to the woman of God?
17 Another outstanding quality of a woman of God is her ability to show sympathy and affection. (Romans 12:10) Her fairest ornament is love, which will prevent her from being disagreeable in little things. How beautifully that love is described at 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. According to The New English Bible, it reads: “Love is patient; love is kind and envies no one. Love is never boastful, nor conceited, nor rude; never selfish, not quick to take offence. Love keeps no score of wrongs; does not gloat over other men’s sins, but delights in the truth. There is nothing love cannot face; there is no limit to its faith, its hope, and its endurance.”
What Are We?
18. What personal questions do each of us now face, and what will self-examination do?
18 The big question now is: Can each of us be identified as a Christian person, whether married or single? Are there areas wherein we can see the need to make further adjustments as we seek to be pleasing to Jehovah and to our fellowman? More than likely, any self-examination we undertake will show up areas in which we can improve. But what a joy it is to observe such improvement in ourselves and, more than that, to have others notice and comment on the changes we make because of our closely following the Word of God and its teachings!—2 Corinthians 13:5; 1 Timothy 4:15, 16.
19. How should we go about solving problems that we face in the pursuit of a peaceful, godly life?
19 In pursuing a life of singleness, a person can strive to cultivate these qualities. (1 Corinthians 7:32) And when the day may come that one decides to get married, such qualities will certainly serve well for the one who has cultivated them. Among those married, continued cultivation of Christian virtues will result in great happiness and joy. (Philippians 4:8, 9) Solving problems takes the effort of both partners in the marriage arrangement. Willingness to recognize and change one’s disagreeable habits can contribute greatly toward putting on a pleasing Christian personality. (Colossians 3:8-10) Remember, too, the mark of a Christian man or a Christian woman is that ability to say, “I’m sorry, please forgive me.” We all make mistakes. When we admit them, we give evidence of cultivating rich qualities of modesty and humility.—Micah 6:8; James 3:2.
20. What appropriate words of the apostle Paul at Colossians 3:12-17 are helpful and fitting for all?
20 How appropriate are these words of Paul to the congregation in Colossae: “Then put on the garments that suit God’s chosen people, his own, his beloved: compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience. Be forbearing with one another, and forgiving, where any of you has cause for complaint: you must forgive as the Lord forgave you. To crown all, there must be love, to bind all together and complete the whole. Let Christ’s peace be arbiter in your hearts; to this peace you were called as members of a single body. And be filled with gratitude. Let the message of Christ dwell among you in all its richness. Instruct and admonish each other with the utmost wisdom. Sing thankfully in your hearts to God, with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. Whatever you are doing, whether you speak or act, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”—Colossians 3:12-17, NEB.
21. How can our conduct and activity encourage others?
21 The fine examples in the Bible, and also in the Christian congregation in this 20th century, should be an encouragement to one and all to continue working on the new personality. (Ephesians 4:22-24) By doing this, we will become a blessing to all those with whom we associate. Moreover, many others to whom we take the Kingdom message will be impressed and encouraged, not only by our words but also by the zeal and good conduct that they see in the global family of Jehovah’s Witnesses.—John 13:34, 35.
In summary of the above, what would you say?
□ What qualities are to be cultivated by the man of God?
□ How will the Christian man care for his wife and family?
□ The Christian woman is distinguished by what virtues?
□ How may single persons build wisely for the future?
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The spiritual man displays qualities that draw others to him
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A godly wife loves and is loved
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Single Christians can cultivate the new personality for a full and joyful life